Books: Minor Master

ELECTRIC DELIGHTS by William Plomer Selected and Introduced by Rupert Hart-Davis Godine; 278 pages; $10

The professional man of letters, like the shepherd and the blacksmith, is a vanishing species, found mainly in the British Isles. William Plomer, who died in 1973 at the age of 69, was a notable specimen. He made his debut at 21 with Turbott Wolfe, a novel that Leonard and Virginia Woolf recognized as a minor masterpiece when he submitted it to their Hogarth Press. For half a century, biographies, essays, librettos, novels and poems fell from his prolific...

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